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A Healthier You for the New Year

A Healthier You for the New Year

Welcome to the New Year! Time to get your mind focused on a healthier plan for the days ahead.

Your health is the source driver of your energy and it will reach into every aspect of your life. If you want to be a better you, begin the transformation by starting with your health.

How you feel when you wake up often determines how successful your day will be and how much you get done. Your health also determines much of your mood, ability to finish mentally and physically demanding tasks, and of course has a huge impact on your appearance. A healthy focus contributes to longevity and how enjoyable all those years of life will be.

Your health should be your number one priority as every other good thing will be enhanced by a healthy lifestyle. Too often, though, we don’t think enough about it. Most of us will focus far more on our careers, what our friends think, what’s on TV, or even how clean our home is than we will to our physical strength, our fitness level, or how much extra fat we’re carrying in our bodies. And, that’s why so many of us are so unhealthy.

So as we begin this new year, let’s take a closer look at some of things we can do to turn the trend line positive and head back towards a healthier way of living!

One big problem is that it’s hard to know where to start or are afraid it’ll be too hard, too complicated, and altogether unpleasant.

Don’t despair, it’s not as hard as it seems.

Thinking Smarter About Food

Let’s start with diet because ultimately it’s easier to change and as the old saying goes: “You can’t outrun your mouth!” When aiming for general health, try not to focus too much on weight loss, but on swapping out unhealthy habits for healthy ones. You’ll feel better and the improvements in fitness and overall health will help you in all of your goals.

Think of foods as more than just energy, but also the very stuff of which we are made. We don’t need to just keep the fires burning, but also provide the rich range of nutrients that will power our muscles, our organs–especially our brain, our digestive system, our bones, our immune system, and everything else.

Healthy eating helps regulate the important hormones and chemical processes that drive systems throughout our bodies. Watch for key nutrients found in whole foods like magnesium (a common deficiency in the US), Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12. Magnesium helps us form proper bone and connective tissues, keeps our brains working right, and helps men produce proper levels of testosterone.

Vitamin D is showing up more and more as a key nutrient for immune health, hormone regulation, energy and hunger level management, and many other functions. Vitamin D is naturally created when we get sun exposure, but can also be readily supplemented in foods or dietary supplement form.

Vitamin B12 enhances the body’s healthy use of red blood cells, enabling us to transport energy and nutrients to our brain and muscles and also plays a role in fat management. Vegetarians in particular may need to supplement their B12 intake, but it is often at low levels in people who eat primarily processed foods. Essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals all serve crucial and important jobs throughout the body. If you have been eating processed foods (think packaged and fast foods instead of raw and cooked vegetables, and raw fruits) you are probably deficient in many of these.

Here are three things to make the new year better:

  1. Switch to fresh, natural, and so-called “whole” foods. Eat more (4x/week) foods that you prepare from fresh ingredients. Keep it simple: more salads and steamed vegetables, skip the white bread and rolls, add whole grains, try some chick pea pasta, and snack on celery and carrots instead of chips and candy bars. You might miss the sugar for a day or two, but it’s surprisingly easy to get past that.
  2. Take a multi-vitamin. Whole foods are the best source of nutrients, but it can be tough to keep every level just right. Take a multivitamin to make sure you’re giving your body the necessary building blocks.
  3. Jumpstart your healthy improvements with superfoods and other dense nutrient sources. Making smoothies is a great way to introduce this into your routine. Find great recipes online and especially look at fruits and vegetables like blueberries, bananas, spinach, and broccoli. Watch out for high sugar options and opt for natural sweeteners like a handful of berries. Bonus tip: avocados are a super health boost and add a lot of body and richness to smoothies.

Some other items to check out for optimal health this year:

  • Lutein: Already widely known as critical for eye health, lutein can help increase energy levels enhance brain health.
  • Magnesium threonate: Great for overall brain health and restful sleep.
  • Omega 3 fatty acid: Omega 3 reduces inflammation, protects cells from damage, and is critical for overall health. 

Think what you could do with: more energy, clearer thinking, better sleep, and higher overall fitness. Make a few small changes plus get moving more times during the day and more days during the week can make a huge difference. Making some of these changes can super-charge your new year and prime you for a great year ahead.

As always, this is meant as general information and not specific advice. Always check with your doctor to determine the best plan for you!